Twitter is no longer allowing developers to access its old APIs. This means that some key features of third-party Twitter apps such as Tweetbot, Twitterific, Talon, and Tweetings no longer work. Which has rather annoyed the people using those apps for obvious reasons.
A Longstanding Love-Hate Relationship
For many years, Twitter has
enjoyed endured a love/hate relationship with third-party apps. A lot of Twitter’s best features were born on these apps, but Twitter would really rather they didn’t exist.
Everyone who uses a third-party Twitter app isn’t using Twitter’s own apps. Which means Twitter loses control over their experience, which just won’t do for a company already struggling to make ends meet. And so Twitter has now taken the nuclear option.
Twitter Makes Third-Party Apps Worse
Twitter has rescinded access to the old APIs, which means third-party apps can no longer deliver push notifications or automatically refresh timelines. The result is broken apps, with the likes of Tweetbot and Twitterific having to disable some of their core features.
Today, our User Streams, Site Streams, and legacy Direct Message endpoints will begin a brief period of degraded service before being retired entirely.
Developers using these services can learn more and find migration guides on the forum: https://t.co/hedzTXO6as
— Twitter API (@TwitterAPI) August 16, 2018
Twitter has defended its actions, with Rob Johnson, the Senior Director of Data Enterprise Solutions, saying this is the company “removing support for some outdated developer tools” in order to “deliver the best Twitter for you”.
Essentially, Twitter wants to focus on servicing its own apps, with these third-party apps a distraction. Developers can switch to using Twitter’s Account Activity API, but doing so isn’t cheap, which is why so many have held back from switching so far.
Twitter Gave Developers Ample Warning
No one, including the developers of the third-party apps affected and their users, should be surprised by any of this. Twitter has been planning this move for a long time, and developers have known Twitter was planning to shut down the old APIs since April 2018.
However, none of this actually matters when it comes down to it. Developers have seen their ability to keep their apps working pulled out from under them, and users are discovering that most third-party Twitter apps are now not as good as they used to be.
Image Credit: Andreas Eldh/Flickr